To: Don Wise, chief executive
From: Paul Servant, assistant chief executive
Re: Strategic hip authority
It’s all change at the new SHA. The difference was obvious before I arrived, when I called to get directions to the new offices: ‘Thank you for calling your SHA. Press one for recovery, two for reconfiguration, three for resignation or hold for a career adviser. Your call is important to us and may be recorded for the amusement of executives.’
When I got there, for our first bilateral with the new chief exec, the changes were more obvious as I pulled up to the gates and announced myself over the intercom. They swung open and I drove up a half-mile, tree-lined avenue arriving at the reception area of the listed Georgian mansion where a valet was waiting to park my car.
I was greeted by a smart young man who was very apologetic that the meeting would be starting 15 minutes late, and suggested a freshly squeezed orange juice or jasmine tea might be refreshing. While I waited I passed the time by reading some the new chief executive’s poems, which are framed and mounted around reception.
I was soon ushered in to the inner sanctum, where the new boss was standing over a scale model of the entire SHA. It was exquisitely detailed, with model trains running and little remote controlled ambulances zooming around. Slightly disconcertingly, he was holding the general hospital and maternity hospital models in his hand, almost juggling them nonchalantly.
‘Paul, geezer, fantastic to meet you. Do you like the gaff? Still waiting for the Feng Shui consultant to finish it off, but we’re pleased. Sorry to squeeze this meeting, but I just wanted to touch base and let you know that we’re all rooting for you here and love the work you’re doing on redundancies.
‘But we’re not here to talk shop, I want to get to know the real you. We’re having a little wine tasting later, al fresco, down by the boating lake in the grounds, I’d love it if you could stay. Anyway, gotta dash.’
He threw the general hospital model to me. ‘Can’t work out where that goes, why not keep it as a souvenir? Be lucky, fella, and see you over the Chardonnay.’